FL Legislative Session Boosts Local Economy

Because of all the issues that will be addressed during this legislative session, and all of the people who are fired up about what may or may not happen, researchers expect this session to bring more people to the Capital City--which means more money boosting the local economy.

There's always hustle and bustle during lunch hour at the Governor's Club in Downtown Tallahassee.

But, during the Florida Legislative Session, things are even busier.

President of Governor's Club Robert Reyes said, "We do about 50 percent of our business in the next two months. Most days, all three levels of the club are fully booked up for lunch and sometimes dinner. So, it's a crazy time for us."

The Tallahassee Area Convention and Visitors' Bureau says about $157 million were spent during the first and second quarters of 2010, which include the two months of the legislative session. Fifteen million of that was at restaurants.

They expect more this year.

Reyes added, "We have a full staff for the next two months and it's a lot of excitement."

On this first day of session Monday, one moment the catering director is acting as desk manager and the next, she's the hostess.

And with more than 1.2 million visitors during this time last year, it's also busy outside the restaurant.

Valet Captain David Edgerton said, "It's probably ten times busier during session. We'll park 100 cars before 10:00. We'll have five times as many guys on to help out. I'm ready to make money every time. This is going to be my third one and I'm ready for it."

The bureau says the 402 million dollar total economic impact also comes from lawmakers and visitors' spending on lodging, taxis, and even haircuts.

Kelly O'Leary with Randazzles Hair Co. said, "It feels wonderful to be able to help Tallahassee grow and see people come in and see Tallahassee, too. They get to experience us and maybe come back."

The bureau says the big money maker during the legislative session is lodging.

They say during the quarters that included the session last year, more than $25 million was spent at hotels and motels.

Officials also say almost 14,000 jobs are supported and created through visitor spending because of the session as well.

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